No law can heal a sick society

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By Victor Angula|

Last Friday in Ondangwa another young woman was murdered by her boyfriend. The woman was a correctional facility officer (prison warder).

Just a little more than two months ago a young police woman was killed in Windhoek by her boyfriend. In-between the two killings, sometimes referred to as “passion killing”, there has been many ordinary women killed in cold blood across Namibia as a result of domestic or sexual relations problems.

Not to mention a young police man who killed himself a little more than a month ago in Walvis Bay as a result of a love-gone-wrong with a woman.

Some years ago there used to be people who run their mouths off like electric motors, saying that legislation is the best way to solve this so-called passion killing problem.

Institutions like the Legal Assistance Centre’s Gender Research & Advocacy Project department used to be a hive of activity, with Ms Dianne Hubbard working round the clock to make sure that not only are good laws put in place to protect women from their other-halves but also so that stiff sentences are served on those convicted of such passion killing offences.

Today, and looking back at the period after the Domestic Violence Act and other related laws have been in operation, amended and re-amended to best protect women, still women are not protected.

Now the Legal Assistance Centre and other advocates of stiffer laws are quiet; they are confused. Despite the many laws in place which are meant to protect women, women are still being killed, maimed, harassed and constantly living in fear of their partners.

The one thing the LAC and their like-minded colleagues didn’t realize then was the fact that a sick society cannot be made right by good laws and a stern justice system.

The purpose of law is to punish offenders, but not to prevent people from committing crimes. People may choose not to commit crimes because they are scared of the punishment which would be handed to them.

But where passion crimes are concerned, the situation is different. The law and the administration of justice all have no effect on whether passion crimes will be committed or not. When people are in passionate situations, especially those situations which concern life and death, surely law and justice will be the last thing on their minds.

Therefore a sick society produces people with sick mentalities, and when passions mix with these sick mental situations the result is mostly death or deadly violence.

The poor young lady who was a prison guard, guarding people some of whom committed passion crimes, she fell down in a hail of bullets resulting from a passionate situation in which she was herself involved.

And today the Legal Assistance Centre will not say anything.